The Healthy Building Network is collaborating with StopWaste to help Optimize Recycling. The goal is to decrease the use of raw material and increase the recycling rates of building materials. Clear glass is one example of a building product of low recycle rates; only 28% (nationally) of the post-consumed glass is recycled. Both organizations are doing research, which will be released in a report format to help optimize the use of post-consumer supplied building products. Other building products they are looking at include flexible polyurethane foam, ground rubber, nylon 6 & nylon6/6 scrap, polyethylene scrap, reclaimed asphalt pavement, recycled asphalt shingles, recycled wood fiber and steel scrap. They are working on ways to increase the amount of these products being recycled. Disclosure and transparency of a product lifecycle is important and is rewarded in LEED version 4. Unfortunately, lower energy costs and combined recycling containers devalue the recycled materials. The protection of human health is also an issue when using recycled materials in new products. Products that contain lead can cause health issues or environmental concerns. Lessening the volume of building materials trucked to landfills and/or dumped in the ocean is a sound solid waste management strategy that we should all embrace.
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